We're moving - Yay! Help us help our 18-year-old dog transition.
May 2, 2014 10:10 AM   Subscribe

We are moving across town next week. "We" is me and my hubby and our 18-year-old dog, Bookie (rhymes with "spooky"). His biggest challenge is cataracts. We are moving from hardwood to carpeted floors, which will be great for traction and he will not have to go or down more that one step in the house. From our perspective, it will be a great home for him because of the carpet and the fact that he can see out windows without having to be up on furniture. We will have the opportunity to take him to visit the house before we move next week and his bed and food/water bowls will come with us. We don't anticipate any major problems but I thought I would ask for any advice you might have. TIA very much!
posted by harrietthespy to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Night lights. They don't have to be enormous, but just enough that he can see the outline of furniture in a dark room.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:24 AM on May 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I moved with my geriatric dog, and he took it pretty well in stride. As long as he had his bed and his people, it was all fine with him. My experience is only with him, so I'm not sure how well it applies to your dog, but I would not take him to visit the new place in advance. I'm pretty sure that it would have just confused and stressed out my dog to go back and forth. Just bring him there when you're actually moved in, and preferably as unpacked as possible. At least with furniture in its final locations, considering his vision problems. And try to stick to whatever routine he has regarding feeding and walking.
posted by Kriesa at 10:36 AM on May 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

When you go, don't just drive up to the door and take him in - stop a little ways away and help him orient to the new location by walking around it and then to the new place. When we got our dog, a lot of the advice I read was to sort of circle in to the new location from a ways away, as much as possible.
posted by bookdragoness at 10:41 AM on May 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

Is there some kind of 'house smell' you can bring back to him? A scrap of carpet or similar.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:51 AM on May 2, 2014

I agree with the smells stuff. Does he have a blankie? (also, I love his name!!!! Bookie!)
posted by Sophie1 at 11:02 AM on May 2, 2014

If he's used to visiting or going to strange new places with you then taking a visit or 2 to the new house to get him a little used to it can't hurt. If he's normally a stay at home dog it will most likely stress him if he can't see very well or is nervy by nature. Make sure to take him around the outside as well and maybe for a small walk in the neighbourhood.

Try to keep to your old routine as much as possible in the new house. Keeping walk and meal times the same even during the craziness of moving. Have his things unpacked as soon as possible so he has an area he feels safe in with his bed, favourite toys or chews that sort of thing (or crate if you crate) things that smell like home to him. Don't move big items around too much if his vision is bad get them in place before he gets there He might also be a bit more reactive to strange noises until he gets used to them if he can't see very well.

Honestly if his people are there, and they are happy and his food and walks turn up at the same times they always have he'll most likely be fine.
posted by wwax at 11:24 AM on May 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

These are wonderful tips - thanks to ALL of you. His bed is his floor blankie and then he has a fave blanket he sleeps on at night on the corner of my bed. These and his other things will go right along with him. I'm going to mark all of your answers as best and I'll be checking back to see what others add. Rest assured, he is a well-loved and pampered pup and we will take good care of him. He is a stray we adopted many moons ago.
posted by harrietthespy at 11:40 AM on May 2, 2014

When we moved with our cats, it took a bit of planning to make it happen.

1. We cleared out a bedroom in the old house and put all their cat stuff, and them in it while the movers did their thing. (Malcolm escaped and hid behind the wall, necessitating me posting door guard making sure a black blur didn't run out.)

2. We got all the crap moved over to the new place, while the cats hung out in their room at the old place.

3. The furniture was placed and the boxes were organized according to room.

4. We packed up the cats, in their carriers, along with all their gear, and moved it to the new place.

5. Released cats and allowed them to explore their new digs.

FYI, cats LOVE carpet way more than hardwood floors.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:58 AM on May 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've heard that when you move dogs to a new house that you should take them for a long walk around the neighborhood upon arrival before taking them inside. The dogs' brains then register this as a journey to a new den. My husband has done this every time we've moved and our dogs have adjusted nicely.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:00 PM on May 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

I'd pick up some good enzyme carpet cleaner ahead of time. He might have a few accidents in the new place, or as just in general as he gets older, and getting urine out of carpets is much more difficult than hardwood floors. That's more for you than him though.
posted by barnone at 12:01 PM on May 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

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